THE FINAL MISSION - Original Pencil Drawing
Flying his nimble Fokker F.1 triplane, Leutnant Werner Voss, Commanding Officer of Jagdstaffel 10, heads out with two of his pilots on what would prove to be his final mission, 23 September 1917.
Taking off late in the afternoon of 23 September 1917 in a moment superbly captured by artist Richard Taylor in his latest drawing The Final Mission, Leutnant Werner Ross powered his silver Fokker triplane into the sky and would soon outpace the slower Pfalz D.IIIs of his two companions. It was to be their final patrol of the day and with his coveted ‘Pour La Mérite’ around his neck, Voss was tired but in good spirits because with 48 victories to his credit he was fast approaching the tally notched up by top ace Manfred von Richthofen. And Voss was always looking to close the gap.
He thought he was in luck when he spotted a pair of RFC fighters. Diving into attack he forced both British aircraft to flee the scene. Voss, however, was about to be tested for as the brief mêlée concluded he found himself unwittingly bounced – this time by seven SE.5As from B Flight of 57 Squadron – and all their pilots were Aces.
Faced with such odds most would have bowed out gracefully and fled, but not Voss who opted to stay and fight, and what a fight it was with Voss, twisting, turning and pirouetting his nimble little Fokker around his opponents. In a display of mesmerising aerobatics and dazzling precision gunnery he managed to score hits on most of the British planes until suddenly disaster struck. For reasons unknown Voss’s aircraft unexpectedly stopped manoeuvring. Perhaps he was out of fuel but he was caught by one of the SE.5As, its machine-gun bullets raking the German fighter from stem to stern. It went down into a gliding dive, stalled, then smashed into tiny pieces as it hit the ground.
One of Voss’s opponents had been one of Britain’s most highly decorated flying Aces, Major James McCudden VC, DSO*, MC*, MM who later wrote ‘As long as I live I shall never forget my admiration for that German pilot, who single-handed fought seven of us for ten minutes and also put some bullets through all our machines. His flying was wonderful, his courage magnificent, and in my opinion he was the bravest German airman whom it has been my privilege to see fight.’
Creating a completely unique collector’s piece, Richard’s superb drawing has been mounted and framed to full conservation standards to include an ORIGINAL German WWI Iron Cross, plus the incredibly rare ORIGINAL autograph of the legendary Ace depicted:
- Leutnant Werner Voss
- Original Pencil
- 25.25 x 22 inches
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